Until last week, I’d never had a bikini wax, and I thought of Brazilian waxes mostly as a terrible punishment—right up there with getting reincarnated as a roach. That’s why my boss thought a post about my first Brazilian would be funny. And because I kind of agreed, I found myself making an appointment at Lincoln Park’s Salon Envy (2658 N. Halsted).
Part of me thought, “How bad can it be?” Another part of me thought, “It will feel like getting shot with a cannon.”
Before the Wax
My friends were no help when I tried to figure out what to expect. Some of them said it was weirdly relaxing; others said I should take ibuprofen and stretch my screaming muscles. “Do you know if she’s going to use hard or soft wax?” one of my friends asked. I didn’t even know there were two types of wax. By the time I arrived at the salon, I was super confused.
Luckily my aesthetician, Nataliya Dilay, knew exactly what she was doing—she’s been honing her technique for 17 years. (That’s her next to me in the picture.) She explained that she would be using hard wax. Unlike soft wax, it doesn’t require a strip to remove, and it doesn’t stick to your skin, just your hairs. It makes the process a little less painful.
She reassured me one last time that this was going to be pretty different from getting shot with a cannon. Then I took off my pants, and we got down to business.
During the Wax
I was holding out hope I wouldn’t have to go through with it. Some people are allergic to wax, and Nataliya says she can tell after the first pull: their skin immediately turns red and bumpy, and she stops the treatment. Unfortunately, the first slab of wax didn’t give me itchy bumps. The first slab was just the painful beginning. Brazilian. Waxes. Hurt.
Nataliya’s expertise really helped, though. She applied pressure after each pull to dull the pain; it looked sort of like she was karate chopping me. She worked fast, too, and talked me through the whole process. Before she waxed a particularly painful spot, she’d tell me to take a deep breath. The rest of the time, she told me tons of fun tidbits about waxing. Apparently, some people read magazines and text during their Brazilians, like they’re getting a haircut! It all depends on your pain threshold.
Mine is on the low end, which Nataliya accounted for. She started with a regular bikini wax, then went further in, switching from side to side as she worked. That way, if I made her stop at any point, the results would still be symmetrical. In the end, though, I got through the whole thing like a champ. (If a champ makes occasional screeching noises, and balls up her fists and kind of shoves them in her eye sockets.)
Once it was over, Nataliya tweezed some stray hairs, dusted me with powder, and let me out into the world. I half-expected a cavalcade of trumpeteers and whistling bluebirds on the sidewalk as I left, until I remembered my makeover was a secret makeover.
After the Wax
The pain didn’t linger—it only hurt when the wax was being pulled off. No aftereffects at all, unless you count feeling victorious! And a little strange. Wearing pants was more of an experience than usual.
Once I was dressed, I hugged Nataliya goodbye, unsure if I would ever see her again. It was doable, but it hurt! I had some thinking to do.
Nataliya did say that the first time generally hurts the most. After a while, people tend to get used to it. And after a day in the life of Favin 2.0, I’m inclined to believe her. I feel so fresh and so clean! I think I’d be down for round two.